I was supposed to have an autumn baby. Instead she arrived unexpectedly 2.5 months ahead of schedule. I wrote about it trying to capture the moments of fear, denial, confusion. I may even post it here one day but not today. My throat still tightens every time I think back to those first few hours, days, weeks after she was born. That experience broke me into a million tiny pieces and I am still slowly rebuilding myself. Making myself new and stronger.
She was supposed to be a fall baby and my birthday present. Born only a few days after my own birthday I imagined planning her parties filled with pumpkins and squashes, orange hued maple leaves and apple cider. Instead her birthday is in July.
Today was her official due date and it seems fitting to resume blogging on this special day that didn't happen.
With the onslaught of pumpkin recipes all over the food-blogosphere and my love for all things autumn, I couldn't forgo my own pumpkin creation. This recipe, like many bread recipes, is perfect for when you have a baby asking for food around the clock. There's a lot of waiting for the dough to rise, there's no long and complicated techniques. It takes a long time to make and requires breaks in between. So, it works great when you only have 20 minutes here and there during the day.
Pumpkin adds moisture, fibre and colour to the dough. Chili infused oil is very subtle in this recipe. You can use just oil, you can add more chill, you can even use cayenne pepper. I like combination of pumpkin and spice, so I'd recommend adding even more chill. Paprika in the dough is optional, it adds a bit of colour and a savoury note. I sprinkled the pretzels with chili salt (don't even remember where I got it, but I love it), so there was a spicy kick from the topping as well. These pretzels taste really good with sharp vinegary mustard. I personally adore various Kozlik's mustards.
Easy Vegan Pumpkin and Chili infused oil Pretzels
Makes 16 medium size pretzels
Warm water - 1/2 cupDry yeast - 2 teaspoonsSugar (white or brown) - 1 tablespoonPumpkin purée - 1 cupVegetable or olive oil - 1/4 cupRed chili flakes - 1 teaspoon (or more to make the pretzels spicier)Paprika - 1/2 teaspoons (optional)Flour - 2-3 cupsSea salt - 1 teaspoon
Water - 8 cupsBaking soda - 1/4 cupOil for brushing, coarse salt for sprinkling, mustard for serving
- In a bowl of a stand mixer combine 1/2 cup warm water, yeast and sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes until the yeast dissolves and the mixture starts to foam.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a small pot with chili flakes to infuse the oil. Don't worry if the chili burns.
- Strain the oil and cool.
- Add pumpkin to the yeast mixture and mix.
- Once oil is cool, add it to the pumpkin-yeast mixture. Add paprika if using.
- Add a cup of flour and start mixing with a paddle. Add salt.
- Switch to the hook attachment and add flour half cup at a time. I used 2.5 cups of flour. It depends on how humid it is that day and on the flour you are using. It could take up to 3 or even more cups of flour. The dough needs to be soft and it needs to gather into a ball around the hook.
- Knead the dough for about 10 minutes.
- Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for about one or two hours until doubled in size.
- Once the dough is risen, punch it, knead it for a couple of minutes and divide into 16 pieces.
- Roll each piece into a long rope (50-60 cm) and fold into pretzels.
- Place the pretzels onto baking sheets covered with parchment paper, cover with kitchen towels and let rise for another hour or so. Note, I only let them rise for about 15 minutes this time and it was fine.
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Once the pretzels doubled in size and became puffy, boil 8 cups of water with 1/4 of baking soda.
- Drop pretzels into the boiling soda water one at a time a let them cook about 10 seconds on each side. Place them back onto parchment right after.
- After all the pretzels are boiled, brush them with oil, sprinkle with salt and bake for 15-20 minutes (if using two baking sheets, then switch them midway) until they are golden.
- Cool and serve with mustard.